The Living Was Easy


It’s summertime.

Look at those self-satisfied faces.*

They know.

Those girls know, even though the oldest is only 9, they know how lucky they are.

They are lucky to spend their summer days on a farm, a farm where they have the freedom to roam, to sit in the haymow and dream, to chew a stalk of hay.

Four cousins, together for only the summer months. They are lucky to play together with absolutely nothing to worry about except breaking a plastic flip flop or getting sticky drips of Popsicle running down an arm.

School doesn’t start again for a month. Their moms will take them to the “little beach” down the road and their bathing suits will never completely dry out all summer. Their dads will call them away from the TV in the evenings, to help corral cows that have wandered beyond the fence line.

Later they and a dad and a dog or two will make the trip for soft ice cream. The ice cream shop has not yet gotten the technology to make a twist of two flavors so the hardest decision of the day will be chocolate or vanilla.

These girls were so lucky to have this childhood. They knew it then and they are even more convinced now.

Every year, when summer arrives, the scent of new-mown hay or the taste of the first corn off the stalk transports them back to those days, and they smile those self-satisfied smiles and remember how it was summertime and the living was easy.

* I just saw this photo of my sister, my cousins, and me for the first time (that’s me on the left, then cousin Paula, sister Kathy, and cousin Jill). Paula gave it to me a couple days ago and I’m not sure I have a photo I like better! Do you have a photo that sums up your childhood? Shouldn’t you write a blog post about it?!

A couple of bloggers took me up on this!

Deb at SevenCub’s Blog

Deb at A Daily Dose of Fiber

64 thoughts on “The Living Was Easy

    • I hope you get your hands on the photos someday! I thought I had seen all the photos of my sister and me when we were kids–it was a nice surprise to get this one!

    • A farm upbringing is pretty special. I’d love to hear from someone who grew up in, say, New York or Boston and hear what their fondest memories are!

      • Yes, that would be interesting! One of my grandmothers grew up in Brooklyn in the teens and twenties, her stories were fun but of a whole different time – behind her family’s brownstone was a farm. 😀 And she went to her grandfather in the country every summer. Soooo not the story you were looking for. 😉

  1. Sweet summers! Although my childhood was lived in perpetual summer, I loved the holidays; all of them. Our longest break was the Christmas holiday which lasted about 6 weeks. . And yes I do have a photo that sums up some of my childhood….I am looking at it now as I type. ps Did you ever use the straws to pretend you were smoking? 😉

    • I’d love to see the photo you mention–have you used it in a blog post? We DID use the hay as pretend cigarettes! And we bought bubblegum cigars at the candy store and felt very sophisticated when we “smoked” them!

      • I haven’t used the photo, yet. I would need to ask my brother first if he wanted it sent out into the world. It’s a sweet photo. I don’t recall bubblegum cigars but we did have candy cigarettes. I didn’t like them; sickly sweet.

  2. How fun! I grew up next to the cornfield so I have a lot of memories of that. But my parents were both only children so I don’t have any first cousins to share those memories.

  3. I think I need to go though my Moms photos.. Oh the memories that flood my mind when the word summer and farm come together…. And if I can find some pictures to go with them, they would make some interesting blogs . Kerry, are you trying to make a writer out of us who drag our feet!?🤓

    • Yes, that’s my secret plan! No, really, I just love reading about other people’s experiences and childhood memories. I feel like I know a person better when I know how they grew up!

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo that sums up those lazy hazy days of childhood summers better. Mine however was an urban childhood. You’re right. It deserves a post. Soon. Thanks Kerry. And you’re telling me that you had CHOCOLATE ice cream? For us there were two flavours. Pink and plain. Yes, I did say ‘pink’. Flavour didn’t come into it.

    • I was just saying to someone else that we needed to hear from someone who had an urban childhood–I could only fantasize about that as a child. It seems so exciting and sophisticated! And, yes, we had chocolate! I was always Team Vanilla but my sister always had chocolate. Pink, you say . . . ?

  5. You were lucky children indeed. How kind that you were gifted the photo to jog your memory a bit. I have very few photos of my childhood. Not many were taken in those days. I do cherish the few I have. I’ve thought a lot about blogging from those photos. Great idea.

  6. Darling! I had a lovely childhood and feel so grateful for it. I lived on the edge of my grandparents’ Angus cattle farm (he was “a gentleman farmer”), next to the other grandparents and a field away from one set of cousins. The other set lived in NYC and came down a lot. The 4th of July was a Big Picnic at the pool and such a fun event. I would beg to stay at my grandparents’ house so I could be with the NYC cousins and swim in the pool before bed – such a treat! The other cousins I rarely saw….. I have been going through a picture box recently but they aren’t childhood ones – they are early marriage ones. ;-D

      • You got that right! They were very exotic – and a tad condascending…. It was definitley a case of the city mice v the country mice! My small town was significantly more progressive than yours – we did have sidewalks. I am trying to imagine no sidewalks…

  7. Pingback: Summer Memories… | a daily dose of fiber

  8. Wonderful photo. I knew that was you on the left even before I reached the bottom of the post. I have a photo of me with a watering can somewhere. I had to be around three and the watering can was about half my size. I’m stilling lugging around watering cans.

    • How did you know it was me? Because of another photo I’ve posted or because that bossy-looking little girl looks like I sound?! The picture you describe of yourself sounds perfect!

  9. Quintessential photo of farm kids in the summer….I’ll go through my own old childhood photos to see what I come up with. I did recently find one of me slung ( really! laying on my back) across my horse out in the field while still in my pajamas. Not a care in the world! Great idea for a post, Kerry!

    • The horse, the pjs–that sounds like a great photo! All my sister and I wanted was a horse . . . but my smart father knew we wouldn’t take care of it and he had enough work to do with the rest of the farm. I hope you blog about one of your own photos!

  10. I love that photo Kerry! I grew up in a town but could easily get to the countryside on the bus, train or by car where we walked and had picnics and we also spent all our holidays in the country. I haven’t any photos so I’ll have to go and raid my Mum’s collection! Children today don’t seem to have as much freedom as we had. I tried to make sure that both my daughters had relaxing holidays and were as free from care as possible. They never seemed to be bored!

  11. What a wonderful photo, I can smell the hay! I partly grew up on a farm. My mom was often ill and this family took care of me. I had my ‘own’ cow (Rose), the food was so good and whether I was outside or inside, there was this calm with me all the time. Astoundingly, I have not one photo of the farm or the family that took care of me. But I carry the memories with me and have plenty of habits that came ‘right of the farm’ ;o) Thanks for sharing Kerry and I always love it when you tell your youth stories. xoxoxo

    • If you had your own cow that makes it official–you were a farm girl! It’s interesting to me how some families seemed to be very into picture taking and others weren’t at all. My family definitely was and there are almost too many pictures . . . but it’s hard to throw any away.

  12. What a treasure, Kerry. I would love to have someone produce a childhood photo that I knew nothing about. You’re all adorable in that special, carefree little-girl way. I know you’ll cherish this always.

    • My one cousin is really interested in genealogy and family and she has been poring through old stuff. I was surprised, too, that there were photos I hadn’t seen. In fact, she just gave me a CD of photos she had printed from an old packet of negatives–all new to me!

    • You know, it seems simpler to me, too, although it wasn’t really. It was the mid-60s and the country was in a lot of turmoil then, as it is now. Kennedy had just been assassinated, Civil Rights workers, Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner had just disappeared, etc., etc. But we were little kids and had not a care win the world. I hope little kids right now are feeling the same way.

  13. This photo is beautiful! I love how many memories are tied up to the changing of seasons. Your childhood summers sound idylic. I remember mine to be longer and much hotter than they are now. I miss long summer days with nothing to do except splash about in the paddling pool in the garden! One summer I became obsessed with the film Stand by Me, I loved the idea of going on a summer adventure, so me and my friend took a picnic and walked the 7 hour trek along the river to our nearest city xx

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